Tonight six of us ventured out for a meal at The Permit Room which has opened up on Colombo Street in the old National Bank building.
Owned by the same folk as Mumbaiwala we had high expectations of good food. We weren’t disappointed. The Permit Room has been beautifully done up with dark wood decor and a mezzanine floor. It was warm and welcoming on a cool night. I’m sure it will be great in summer too with large windows facing out to Victoria Square.
While Mumbaiwala is more a funky street food venue TPR is more restaurant dining. Given the different approach the prices were still very competitive.
We decided against the banquet option but chose four small plates and three main plates to share, adding an extra bread and rice.
We went with Okra Fries, Banana and Kale Bhajees, Keralen Fried Chicken and Masala Wada (a type of fritter) for our small plates. I was a bit dubious about the bhajees but they were fabulous, perfectly paired with a tamarind and date chutney. All the dishes were tasty and accordingly demolished!
For our mains we ordered a South Indian Coconut Butter Chicken (deliriously and deliciously creamy), spicy Chettinad Lamb Curry (our hottest dish) and the Kadla Curry which was black gram spinach and potato Curry.
Oh my the food was good. There was plenty and there was none left! Truly beautiful Indian cuisine that wasn’t heavy but was flavourful. Subtle flavours, perfectly balanced with the best coconut rice I’ve had. The flaky bread was lighter than your usual naan too.
Three of us had a dessert, all choosing Gulab Jamun which was a cardamon spiced donut with orange syrup and vanilla ice cream and one person had a dessert chai cocktail.
With drinks included the meal came to just under $51 each.
This new venture brings a great place to eat before going to the theatre or to concerts at the town hall and is a welcome addition to North of the square. Once the convention centre is complete I’m sure more venues will pop up but this is a lovely Jewel added to the city’s overflowing food crown, it deserves to go the distance in this competitive industry. It’s also a delightful fit out of a building that survived through the earthquakes.
Well done The Permit Room. Well done indeed!